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Andrew Hope recently successfully represented the wife of a Nigerian politician on trial

November 26, 2013

The circumstances of the offence were that she had travelled to the UK for a short holiday with her young family which included a minor who was a distant relative.

Concerns were raised at the airport because the relative did not bear the same surname. The relative was questioned and a suggestion was raised that she was working as a maid for the family in Nigeria.

The minor's mother was contacted by telephone and allegedly told an Immigration Officer that her daughter did work as a maid.

The client was allowed to leave the airport, but was later arrested, interviewed, charged and remanded: bail was eventually granted at the Crown Court.

The Crown's case was she had brought her relative into the UK to look after her two young children during the holiday.

The issue in the case was “the intention” in bringing the relative here: the defence case being that the relative, as is customary in Nigeria, was living with the client in order to provide her with opportunities which were not available in her home village (inc attending school) and she did no more than the normal customary domestic duties.

A defence cultural expert was instructed to provide a report on the responsibilities of extended families in Nigeria to look after relatives and the normal domestic duties of a minor.

A video-link facility was also set up in order that a witness in Nigeria could give evidence.

At trial the Crown applied to admit the hearsay account of the minor’s mother and that of the client's husband at the airport pursuant to S.114(d) of the CJA. This was opposed on the grounds of prejudice and that it was an attempt to circumvent the requirements of other gateways (S.116).

The Crown's application was refused and they offered no evidence.